Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea


I just knocked the metaphorical ball that is my classes out of the metaphorical park that represents awesomeness. Gosh.

Final exams are in two weeks, so that coupled with the quick temperature drop has been rough for the students, so a lot of them are sick and they shuffled in looking like zombies (guess those survival plans didn’t work quite as well as anticipated?) but they’re troopers, and it helps that I’ve got really active lessons planned for first and second grade all this week.

I feel like I’ve broken through a wall with my second grade boys. One of my favorite classes, and the class that I’ve always really wanted to befriend before I lose them, is class 2.4, and I’ve always felt like I liked them more than they liked me, but I think that might be changing. Today we were practicing big numbers and money, which I was frankly worried about because whenever I introduce material that they should already know they tend to become too cool for school and think it’s too easy, and I started off the class with going over numbers, but they got really into it. We went over hundred, thousand, hundred thousand,  million, hundred million, and billion, then went over penny, nickel, dime, and quarter as well as all of the bills. I asked them who was on the coins and at least one kid knew (including, who was on the fifty-dollar bill), and they asked me what “e pluribus unum” meant. We then played “The Price is Right” and they went bonkers.

*I show a picture of a diamond ring*
I don’t know? I found it on google?
Seriously guys, just guess.

*I show a picture of a Pizza Hut pizza *
Okay everyone, it’s a large Pizza Hut pizza from America.
I just said “large.”
No look at the picture guys! THIS is the pizza.
We don’t have bulgogi pizza in the states. LOOK AT THE PICTURE.

At the end of class I told them to cheer up and to not to be too stressed, I know that it’s a difficult time for them but I want them to rest and be healthy. The students quickly reassured me that their demeanor at the beginning of class was not because of me and I chuckled and said that I knew, but it made me sad to see them so tired.

Now that the suneung is over the second graders are literally counting down the days until they become third graders and their lives get even more swallowed up by school than they already are. All I can do is just watch, try to offer support from the outside, and make sure the students know that I care.

posted under Cute Stories, School

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.